The realization that large volcanic eruptions can trigger climatic cooling has inspired some to call for stratospheric geoengineering projects, which mimic volcanic eruptions, to combat the effects of global warming. But the approach is not without risks. And a new study looking at the effects of volcanic eruptions on monsoon cycles in China over the past 700 years elucidates one: Eruptions can also cause profound drought in some regions. The finding suggests that although artificially induced cooling may have benefits in some places, it could backfire in others.
Scientists may have overturned the idea that Earth’s tropical oceans were the same temperature during the Early to Middle Pliocene — between about 5 million and 3 million years ago — as they are today, despite the world being a far warmer place then.
The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released piecemeal over the last year, reports “unequivocal” warming of the climate system due to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations, further emphasizing the need for global mitigation and adaptation schemes. But not everyone is ready to curtail carbon emissions, and the increasing clamor from skeptics and deniers — along with potential overstatements and even understatements by scientists — creates a polarized political environment that complicates efforts to communicate science effectively.
Nowhere is climatic warming more evident than in the Arctic. Arctic air has warmed almost twice as much compared to the global average in recent decades, and Arctic sea-ice extent has hit historic lows in the last decade.
Penguins’ lives revolve around ice, so it seems they might be particularly vulnerable to changing ice conditions and ice loss. But a new study charting the rise and fall of penguin populations over the last 30,000 years suggests that past populations have actually increased during times of climate warming and retreating ice.
Clouds play a starring role in creating and controlling climate, but cloud physics are notoriously difficult to model, leaving wide gaps in understanding how cloud conditions have changed since the pre-industrial era. A new study looking at pristine regions of the sky in the South Pacific is shining some much-needed light on how particulate air pollution interacts with water vapor to form clouds.
Ideally, science is objective and without bias. But realistically, some bias, in the form of predetermined inclination, is unavoidable. Thus it falls on scientists to disclose our biases and potential conflicts, and to do our utmost to be objective.
Straightforward scientific conclusions about climate change often fail to reach policymakers and the broader society. Climate scientists need to revise their communication strategies to close the vast gap in understanding that persists between what is known about climate change and how the public perceives the issue.
The Green Ninja may sound like a spin-off of the “Power Rangers,” the live-action children’s television series featuring color-coded superheroes. But there’s a little less punch and a lot more thought going into this YouTube science show for kids.
The last several decades have seen Arctic sea-ice minimums drop by more than half in sea-ice area and more than three-quarters in volume. With current models expecting further reductions, scientists are calling it the “new normal” and are trying to grasp its implications — one of which is the occurrence of pathogens never before seen in the Arctic.